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Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates for Sale on the Dark Net

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

While the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to accelerate, it’s worth remembering that only around 1% of the world’s population have received their full course of injections. Billions are still waiting for their first dose, which inevitably leads those people to question exactly when they will get it.

Especially as plans are being made internationally to allow those that have been vaccinated, or can prove they have had a recent negative test, the freedom to travel to other countries, attend large-scale events, take a new job, and more.

So there’s a strong and growing demand for vaccinations and test results because of the greater freedoms they will give to people. And of course, there will always be people who don’t want to wait for their official vaccination, or for an official negative test result – and shady people willing to service that demand.

Scammers are Selling Fake COVID-19 Vaccines

Earlier this year, there were hundreds of scammers on the darknet advertising COVID-19 vaccines for sale from $500 – and now the number of adverts has more than tripled to over 1,200. Further, vendors are also offering a range of fake vaccination certificates and negative test results to people who need proof of either.

Darknet Adverts for Fake Vaccination Certificates Spike, according to Check Point Research

As a mean to prepare society for restarting tourism, flights routine and border crossing, the European commission, the EU’s executive arm, has proposed a vaccination certificate to be used as the ultimate ‘door opener’ across countries and societies.

The commission suggested that EU citizens should be allowed to use a “digital green certificate” to prove that they have been vaccinated against the virus; that they have received a negative COVID-19 test; or they have recovered after contracting the coronavirus.

In other words, the vaccination certificate, for the foreseen future, will become the passport, bilaterally agreed between countries, which will give holders an entrance ticket to, and enable them to participate in many activities (e.g. live shows, cultural activities and entrance to public areas).

It seems that various threat actors and hackers have quickly realized the potential market for fake documents, and have been quick to grab the monetization opportunity.

3 Tips to Avoid Using Fake Documents

  1. People should watch for authenticity indicators on documents such as misspellings, errors, low-quality logos, and errors in terminology (e.g. ‘corona disease’ or ‘the covid epidemic’)
  2. Every country should internally manage a central repository of tests and vaccinated people, which can securely be shared between relevant authorized bodies within the country.
  3. All data of tests and vaccination population should be digitally signed with encrypted keys
Edited by Jenna Delport
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